Dispatches from a life in and out of drug policy



I have been a long time observer of and commentator on UK Drug Policy. Beginning my career in Liverpool as an HIV prevention outreach worker in the late 1980s, I have worked at every level of the drug treatment system. Including as a commissioner and DAT coordinator, a Community safety manager, a Director with a national troubleshooting role for a major provider. I've designed mental health advocacy programmes, systems of primary care and for a long while helped develop and design new approaches to urgent care services with one of the largest providers of these in the UK. 

But drugs treatment and drug policy have remained my main passion. I'm largely agnostic about legalisation except insofar as we currently use prohibition to persecute the vulnerable and the poor and destroy families and communities with the blunt tools available to us within the criminal justice system.

I'm a committed harm reductionist and believe in the potential of every single individual to live a life free from problematic substance use but also liberated from the long term life role of patient. There is not a treatment system anywhere which does not cause some degree of iatrogenic harm. As professionals we must seek to identify and reduce harms caused by contact with helping services as well as those originating in problematic drug use itself.

This blog will be irregularly updated with my writing on drugs and related issues and I'll also use it to host a few archive articles from my previous writing in magazines, some conference speeches and some stuff from my old blog thats still pertinent. I hope its useful/entertaining and/or informative.


“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed, but when we are silent we are still afraid, so it is better to speak"

Audre Lorde


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